Back in August of ’10 (them were the days) we posted about how an Israeli company called Better Place was testing out a system for switching out batteries in Japanese electric taxis. They drive in, get their new battery, and drive out. A good idea for fleet vehicles, we said at the time, but it would take some refinement before coming to regular cars.
Well, Better Place is taking that step now, showing off its first “domestic” station, located in Israel. They’re planning on rolling out a total of nine such stations over the course of the year, and have put charge points at many parking lots and gas stations.
The system really is pretty simple, but not every car is supported, obviously. The single central battery is one approach to design, but others have opted to spread the weight of the battery around, or make it less easily accessible. The car in the video is a Renault Fluence Z.E., which of course we don’t have here in the States.
Better Place isn’t just a charging company, though — they’re working out a whole deal by which you buy an EV without the battery, and then sign up for Better Place’s service, which includes battery swapping, free charger access, and so on. Is this the future of driving? In some places, it might be really practical. Read more about their plan at their website, or check out the extensive wheels-on at the station over at The Truth About Cars.
[via casdr and Engadget]